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Handmaid’s Tale sequel The Testaments announced for September 2019

handmaids tale

Elisabeth Moss in the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood will publish The Testaments, a sequel to her novel The Handmaid’s Tale, on Sept. 10, 2019, Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart announced on Nov. 28. The novel, which returns to the totalitarian society of Gilead, is set 15 years after the events of Atwood’s 1985 dystopian classic.

In a note accompanying the announcement, Atwood wrote, “Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”

The original novel, set in a speculative future in which women’s rights are restricted and those few who remain capable of conceiving children are conscripted into childbearing, has enjoyed a resurgence since the television adaptation premiered in April 2017. Both the paperback and TV tie-in editions of The Handmaid’s Tale have made frequent appearances on BookNet Canada’s Canadian fiction bestseller list since the TV series premiered. The red robes and white bonnets described in the book have become uniforms for protestors demonstrating in support of women’s rights.

“As the enormous recent success of The Handmaid’s Tale has reminded us, Margaret Atwood is one of the greatest writers and most relevant thinkers of our time,” Kristin Cochrane, Penguin Random House Canada CEO, said in a statement. “To return with her to Gilead is a rare gift, and all of us at Penguin Random House Canada and McClelland & Stewart are very proud to continue our long relationship with Margaret, and excited to publish this brilliant next chapter in a story that has captivated Canadian readers for decades.”

McClelland & Stewart will publish The Testaments in Canada simultaneously with other Penguin Random House imprints across the English-speaking world. The deal was arranged by Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown.